Brian was very knowledgeable about the market and was patient with me, allowing me to investigate a few different areas before zeroing in on the right one for me. He was also very helpful throughout the closing process, working with the seller and my lender to ensure that things were completed in a timely manner. As a first time homebuyer and a recent transplant to the Bay Area I was thankful to have his help.
As a single mom and first time home buyer, I really leaned on Brian to help guide me through the process. Brian gave me candid and sound advice, pointed out things I would have overlooked and helped me make good decisions. He was very available to me every step of the way, and really stayed on top of things. I now own a beautiful new house in Montclair and couldn't be happier with my purchase. Brian is a true professional and an all-around good guy. I would recommend him to anyone in a heartbeat.
I found Brian when I was thinking about selling my Parkwoods condo a couple of years ago. I talked to him about it and decided that I would wait another year or two before putting it on the market. I asked Brian to keep in touch. He contacted me periodically to see if I was ready to sell and when I finally was ready I was happy to list it with him. I was extremely nervous about selling in such a down market, especially because I was carrying a mortgage and my monthly rent in Manhattan (not cheap!). I thought it would take at least 6 months to sell. How wrong I was! We had two offers in a matter of weeks and ended up accepting the second offer. I was a bit worried about selling my California condo from New York but Brian took care of everything for me and was always available to answer any questions or address any concerns. He was an absolute pleasure to work with and I'm so glad I chose him!
Michael Fox Foundation
I think Brian Santilena did excellent work, in every way, helping us sell a home in Piedmont, and the end result was impressive. Brian promised from the start that he would act as the project manager for obtaining contractor bids on necessary repairs and staging, and he delivered on his promise. Brian knows many good contractors, gardeners, repair people, and so forth, to tap for such work. Brian also knows how to plan such work within the budget available. Our house looked great when it went on the market, and we received several offers immediately.
Brian used web-based marketing, as well as more traditional newspaper features to advertise our home. I was very impressed with the quality of that work. It proved very effective.
Brian also is excellent at handling or arranging the technical matters related to contracts, inspections, disclosures, offers/counter-offers, and escrow. His capable use of electronic documents, with electronic signatures, sped our process nicely. His clear explanations for everything happening allowed us to make good decisions, even when time was tight.
Overall, Brian was just exactly the person we needed to prepare our house for sale and to get it sold. He was a delight to work with. He completely understood the value of the neighborhood added to our house. He knew what type of buyer would be attracted to the place, and he succeeded in getting the attention of those very buyers, and in presenting the house to them in a winning way. My experience working with Brian Santilena was very fine.
Attorney at Law
We worked with Brian to sell our home in Oakland as part of a relocation process. Having moved to another city, it was important to us that our agent have not only a pulse on the Oakland market trends, but more importantly the diligence to keep on top of these trends and keep us informed remotely. We made the decision to work with Brian because he instilled in us the confidence that he could deliver on this goal.
What we were pleasantly surprised to find, however, was that Brian was also committed to tailored service. His responsiveness and communication made us feel as though we were his only client. Most importantly, Brian approached the business as a partnership - we aligned on goals early, determined the best strategy to achieve these goals, and then executed on the strategy. He is the consummate professional and having worked with others, we can say with a high level of confidence that there are very few agents who will provide the level of service we received. If you're considering buying or selling a home in Oakland, you would be well served to work with Brian
Francis & Nicola
This was the third home I have bought, and the second I have purchased in the Bay. I have worked with many other Realtors in the past, and Brian is by far the best. What other realtor will would crawl under a potential house to get a look at the foundation for you? No one, trust me. He made the process as painless as possible. Would recommend Brian to anyone looking to buy a house in the Bay.
My fiancee and I decided it made sense to buy a house rather than rent. Though I had owned a home before I was not at all familiar with the real estate process or even the terminology.
I can't recall exactly how I got Brian's name. I think I was web surfing and found his site. I found it helpful because it discussed the different neighborhoods in Oakland. At that point I wasn't sure where to look - what the neighborhoods were like and where we coul find a house we would love as well as afford.
On his site he mentioned that he offered a complimentary intro to real estate discussion -- real estate 101 he called it. This was something i needed. I didn't have a broker yet. Wasn't sure I needed one or what a broker actually did.
Brian's presentation covered a lot of information and clarified terms I was unfamiliar with him. He was very familiar with the East Bay (grew up in Alameda) and also with the current real estate market. He was able to answer my questions and I liked him. He was knowledgable and savvy. He is a former contractor and knows about home construction.
I decided that Brian would be my broker and we began our home search. We weren't limited to any particular list. Yes, Brian sent us listings based on a discussion of our needs and how much we could afford, but we told him about homes we found ourselves.
Going out to look at homes with Brian was very informative. He could make assessments about work that might be needed and why a 'bargain' price or fixer-upper might lead to problems down the road
We found a house we liked and just when we decided to make an offer we had to leave town. Brian was fantastic in coordinating inspections in our absence and getting us all the information. We were pressed for time but I never felt pressured. I was a novice but I knew I was in good hands. He also helped us with referrals to a loan agent and home insurance.
Brian was also able to negotiate for us with the seller and save us thousands of dollars.
I recommend Brian as a trustworthy and knowledgeable real estate agent. He won't try to sell you a house. He'll present you with the facts that will enable you to make that decision for yourself. I am very pleased that he was my agent.
My wife and I hold to a very high standard people with whom we come into contact ~ especially professionals. So it was our expectation that Brian be more interested in being our advocate than selling us a house. His performance and demeanor met and exceeded our expectations.
Brian provided us with great guidance at every juncture of this home buying effort ~ (i.e., locations, home requirements, general insight, contract advice, and changes to all of the above.). He also openly conveyed any trouble spots we failed to identify and wasn't afraid to say no if we began to compromise our position ~ we value that ~ thank you!
Mostly, Brian understood our needs and delivered. Consistently. Brian gracefully worked with our personalities ~ not to make us out to be unreasonable, but we do like to be exacting and well informed ~ and that requires time and attention to detail. Brian always kept us updated so we never felt the need to hound him for information ~ Thank you, we really value that...
For other folks with whom we come into contact, interested in getting into this real estate market, we will certainly refer Brian Santilena as an accomplished, thorough and professional agent who got us exactly the deal and property of which we dreamed.
Andrew & Marium Lindley
Brian is absolutely AMAZING. Despite all of our nervousness / overenthusiasm / nervousness / overenthusiasm, he was always professional, organized, patient, informative, communicative, encouraging, and responsive. (If that list of admiring adjectives seems long to you, you're wrong. I could go *on*.)
Before we even met, Brian took to time to respond to a long list of "interview" questions we sent him via email. Our first meeting, I was expecting him to sell himself to us, but all he did was inform us about the process, provide us with some reference materials and contacts, and let us go. It was a good and informative meeting, though did I feel a little ripped off at first that we didn't get a whole horse and pony show from him. But sometimes, the facts speak for themselves.
The fact is: this man is good.
We didn't once feel pressure to buy, even though he could have gotten away with selling us that first house we ever saw the inside of. It was the almost right house in sooo the wrong neighborhood, but we were naively in lurve. Instead of a sale in the bag in a month, he let us drag him around for another five long months all over Oakland and beyond.
But he didn't talk us *out* of buying that first house, either. He simply showed us other options in better neighborhoods, told us a little more about how the real estate market works... and the decision became clear to us. The man just lets the facts speak for themselves.
His background as a contractor was endlessly helpful - he was able to tell us to an insane level of accuracy how much it would take to remodel this, and fix that, and how it related to the overall value of the house vs. the asking price. On the house we ended up buying, he estimated the costs of repairs within 2%. Just eyeballing it! I mean, who does that??? Apparently, Brian does.
After we were in contract, the whole process got super nutty! Don't even get me started! But through that rollercoaster of a month, Brian just became, well, even more professional, organized, patient, informative, communicative, encouraging, and responsive. Despite inexplicably bizzare behavior from the seller and seller's agent and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, we didn't once feel vulnerable or powerless. In fact, because he was so incredibly *good*, we barely even got frustrated. Why bother? Brian was taking care of us!
So why wasn't he interested in just selling us that first house we fell in love with? To risk sounding incredibly idealistic and naive, I would have to say I don't think he could have lived with himself if he did. He wouldn't have done his job to the best of his ability - helping us make an informed decision that we would be happy with in the long run, getting us the best value for our money. Even after the deal was closed, he stopped by / emailed a few times to make sure we were still happy with our purchase. Which in turn as made us very happy with him. Oh, and our house rocks pretty hard too. :) Thanks, Brian!
My wife and I are first time home buyers and the prospect of finding and purchasing a home was more then a little intimidating. After driving aimless through areas in several cities we thought we may like living in a friend and coworker recommend we contact Brain to help us out. Right away Brain helped us to understand the basics of the loan process, escrow, inspections, and clarified his processes to help him understand the type of home that would make us happy.
Brain was an absolute pleasure to work with. His familiarity with each neighborhood in the cities we looked in was an incredible help. Not just with esthetics like the quality of the school district, and local attractions, but he had a good sense of natural hazards, building ordinances, and traffic conditions that might effect quality of life in the area and potential resell factor of the homes. More then a few times he helped us to see below the surface of a fresh paint job and a remodeled kitchen and provided us a great education on building structures, and construction techniques as they affect regular maintenance or even insurance premiums. Brian is a wealth of information on existing building codes and which ordinances were coming into effect within the year. He showed us how to spot termite infestation, and even helped us envision the potential of a property that needed a little work. I’ll admit I am not one for home repair and having Brian to help us determine the difference between inheriting a huge problem from the previous owner and addressing a cosmetic fix made a very big difference in our choices.
Brian was incredibly attentive to our needs and diligently responsive to our questions rather they came via email, voicemail, or text message. He supplied us with numerous resources to help us find that perfect home and made it a point to make us happy, during our searches, though the bidding process, negations and sale. He never rushed us to a decision, and he did not want us to settle for less so he patiently walked through our check list of wants and needs at every site we viewed or any that we asked his opinion on. In the end we found a great place in a neighborhood we had previously never been to and got a great deal on a beautiful home with great neighbors and easy commute in a some what secluded clean an natural park like environment.
At every point Brian wanted to make sure we were happy, he brought replacement bolts for the garage door, which were damaged when the seller moved out, and checked up on us several times after the sale to see if there was anything else he could do to help us out; he just make sure we were still excited about our new home.
We felt truly fortunate to have Brian working for us; we would recommend him to anyone looking for a new home.
Ken and Ann Toley
"As an international client, I can say that Brian made the sale of my Northern California property seem easy. He was able to create and implement a successful marketing plan in these tough economic times that drove clients to the property. Brian also managed the necessary renovations in my absence to create a property that showed really well. Brian is an expert in the Rockridge/Oakland Hills neighborhoods and he knows all the right people to get the job done. He was able to successfully manage and close my deal while I was in Europe. I can recommend Brian whether you live next door to him or if you live in another country. He understood what I wanted and helped me get there."
Wendy Patrick Seller in Parkwoods
When preparing, marketing and selling our Oakland Montclair home we were amazed at the speed in which you got the job done. You made promises & kept them. Couldn't ask for a better representative. A job well done!!! Thank you.
Beverly Diamon Home Seller in Oakland-Montclair
Thank you once again for your perfect handling of the sale of our home. You were on target during every phase of the sale, and the results were far better than we had hoped. We wanted someone both knowledgeable and respectful about the hidden values of our area and willing to pay attention to details from beginning to end. Your references checked out and perhaps, just as important during this stressful time, we felt relaxed by your low key, yet targeted approach to everything. You proved us right at every turn. Thanks again and best of luck down the road.
Susan & Steven
Both Karen and I want you to know that we were quite pleased with the manner in which you handled the sale of our Parkwoods condo. We feel that we did very well price-wise and that the transaction was completed efficiently. As you know we have already recommended you to others who might be interested in marketing their units.
Harvey and Karen
I really appreciate your hard work and straightforwardness. You definitely understand your marketplace. Thanks again,
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to take a moment to thank you and Prudential California Realty, as well as bring you your attention what a superb job Brian did this fall in helping me purchase my home. Brian was a tremendous help. I can honestly say that without him, I question whether or not I would now be a homeowner. He carried himself in a personable manner and demonstrated knowledge, resourcefulness and ingenuity throughout the process, beginning at our first telephone conversation. Believe me, he was more than a great help, he was also a comfort.
Listing my Parkwoods condo with you was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. Your aggressive marketing techniques produced two offers exceeding the asking price within four days of my condo hitting the market. Since my work takes me out of town, most of the transactions were made via fax, phone and e-communications. You were available day and night to accommodate my schedule. I would recommend Brian highly to anyone looking to sell their property.
We really appreciated your encouragement and guidance getting us into our first home. You have gone far, above & beyond our expectations and this entire experience has been a pleasure. Please enjoy a dinner on us at one of our favorite spots (Rivoli Solano Ave.)
Linda & Heather
First Time Home Buyers
I didn't expect my purchase to be an enjoyable experience, but thanks to you it was. Beforehand (and at every step of the way) you gave me a clear, and totally accurate picture of what to expect. You explained to me thoroughly everything I needed to know, and (thoughtfully) left out what I didn't. You recommended me to a lender who proved to be a consummate professional. You handled the inspections and you stepped in to do a lot of extra things when I had to leave town to take care of my dad. Thank you for taking such great care of me!
We are so thrilled to be home owners and are grateful for all of your help in making it happen. Your advice and encouragement was invaluable. We will be enthusiastically referring you to everyone we know.
Steve & Chantelle
First Time Home Buyers
At last I have a moment to write and send our heartfelt appreciation for your tremendous help to us in obtaining our dream home. It was an extraordinary time, trying to find a home and move while we were still residing out of state and being completely new to the whole house buying process. Your thoughtful and patient help in walking us through the steps of bidding, placing an offer, and obtaining our house were so helpful and we couldn't have done it without you. Your personal insights and suggestions from your experience in restoring fine old homes was also invaluable. We also believe it is your attention to detail and presentation of the bid which gave us the chance to counter bid on a very popular home, and win over half a dozen other competitive offers. I am personally letting all of our friends know that you are the person they should turn to if they want to sell or find a home in the area.
Thank you so much for all of your help with selling our Crocker Highlands home. You are very knowledgeable about the marketplace and your execution of the selling strategy was superb. Working with you was both a a stress-free and profitable experience. We wish you the best and will recommend you to all of our friends.
Mick & Christianna Cohen
Your service in helping us find a home to suit our needs was exemplary. We were quite frustrated with other agents before a friend recommended you to us. You listened to us and found a home that fit our needs and our budget--no small feat in the Bay Area.
Jennifer and I did not have a second thought about whom to use when it came time to sell our home and we were not disappointed. You guided us through the entire process and your recommendations were spot on. We were able to sell our house during a time when others were languishing on the market. I cannot think of praise worthy of your professionalism and knowledge of the market place. Thank you.
Tom and Jennifer
Buyers & Sellers
Moving 3000 miles from the Bay Area we needed someone we trusted to sell our home, and that was Brian. He made it easy, without overwhelming us first time sellers. Brian communicated very clearly and never left any stone unturned. He was very knowledgeable of the real estate market, and our home sold for what he estimated the value. We loved the fact that he took care of items for us and made us feel like we were the only home he had on the market. He has great people skills and knows that you are a customer - he cares.
I would refer Brian to anyone I know selling their home in the Bay Area.
Thank you Brian!
Kevin and Theresa Kobylinski
You are an honest, thoughtful, and patient Realtor. Your knowledge of the Oakland area and housing is second to none. You were able to sense our style even before we could articulate what we wanted. We especially appreciated that you never forced a decision, and looked for new ways to shed light on a situation. As first time buyers, we were fortunate to have you on our side, and will enthusiastically refer you to our friends in the future.
Adam & Sumi